“An original idea? That can’t be too hard. The library must be full of them.” Stephen Fry
Anyone else out there a fan of Stephen Fry?
Jeeves and Wooster?
This isn’t a blog about British comedy or I would elaborate. I just found his quote to be hilarious. I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be original so I had to go to an online library to find an original quote about being original. Turns out, there are a lot of people thinking about this same question. Is there a genuinely original thought out there, or is there nothing new under the sun?
And why this need to be original? Why do we want to be unique? To be the first person to think of something whether it be an idea, a product, or just a pithy quote. Do we want to make money, be famous, or just stand out in some way? Or is it something deeper? You read about those people who had just the right idea with the right circumstances at the right time to create something original. An overnight success. Wouldn’t it be nice?
But it is never that simple. There really is nothing new under the sun. We are all building on someone else’s creations, all the way back to the original Creator. I have this conversation with my boys all the time-
“Who made you?”
“What else did God make?”
“God made all things.”
Pretty straight forward, right? But then they get confused. I have overheard arguments such as this:
“You better not rip the coloring book, ’cause God made it. ”
“Nuh uh, God didn’t make it, Walmart did.”
Then in sails the wise mother to sort it all out. Of course they are both right. God didn’t actually make the coloring book, but He made everything that made the coloring book. So we go back to the origins and we make a game out of it-
“Who made the people that made the coloring book?”
“Who made the trees to make the paper that made the coloring book?”
“Who made the wax for the crayons to color the coloring book?”
Then I have to pause to try to remember where wax comes from and we end up doing an hour of Google searches on different kinds, from ear wax to candle wax, ending with a Youtube documentary on Crayola. That is what homeschool looks like around here some days.
All that to say, I believe we are made in God’s image. He is the great Original, the great Creator. We want to be like him in our feeble attempts to create and our innate longings for originality. But the question I think I often ignore is not who made us and everything, but why?
The sing-song answer on my boys lips is of course, “For his own glory”, but what a statement!
If he creates for his own glory, then we, made in his image, get to create for our own glory? Ah, there is the rub and the great temptation. We want to glorify ourselves by claiming gifts from God as our own. God is the only one who has the right to glorify himself, since He is the only true originator. But he shares it with us, folks. He shares it with us, for his own glory.